The Best Way to Pheno-Hunt a Full Pack of Beans
One of the biggest take-aways I have learned as a horticulturalist is the importance of hunting a FULL PACKS OF SEEDS. Early on as a grower, I would take a few beans from this pack, a few from the next, while frankensteining together the bunch in order to run several cultivars simultaneously. Although you can find some killer cuts without germinating a full pack, it is more efficient to grow all your seeds from a single strain concurrently! A plant is much easier to judge among a group of peers that are in the same playing field. Searching for elites is like a science experiment…eliminate the independent variables in order to determine the true winner of the group. Below, I’ve summarized my most simple garden setup for a full pack pheno hunt.
Using a 50 or 75 gallon hydroponic reservoir, place it within a 4×4 ft or 5×5 ft area. Secure a tray (3×3 or 4×4 is recommended) above the reservoir with proper drain holes (half inch diameter is sufficient). Most trays will have an area marking where to drill the holes for the half inch tubing, if not already done. Connect a submersible pump and timer – this should go off several times a day for 2-5 minutes to rise nutrient solution through one drain hole, filling the tray above. The flooded solution can then saturate the grow medium and plants, before dripping back down the second drain hole into the reservoir below. This technique easily adjustable, simple to monitor, and provides competitive growth from which the most vigorous plants may be identified.
The reservoir should be changed and pH adjusted a minimum of once a week (5.8-6.0 range). I would suggest using 2 gallon pots with coco or Pro-mix. Make sure you line the bottom of the container with chunks of rockwool or hydroton in order to block the drainage holes of the container. This will allow for more moisture retention when the tray fills, while preventing medium from escaping onto the tray during the fill period. Follow a regular nutrient schedule and adjust according to plant response.
- 4’x4’x8’ or 5’x5’x10’ tent or grow area
- 3’x3’ or 4’x4’ hydroponic table with stand
- Light (300 watt minimum)
- 2 outlet timers
- Submersible Pump
- 14 two-gallon or three-gallon pots
- Rockwool slab or cubes
- Coco or Pro-Mix
- Nutrients & pH adjusters
- 1/2’’ and 1/4’’ Tubing
- 1/2 Drill and bit